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Is Supplemental Health Insurance Right for Me?

We Explain What You Need to Know About Adding Coverage and Your Plan Options

Written by: Andrew Hall.

What Is Supplemental Health Insurance?

Supplemental health insurance is additional health insurance that can help with costs associated with services not covered in your primary insurance plan. Supplemental insurance policies vary, but they can help cover copayment, coinsurance, and your health insurance deductible for services to treat an injury or illness.

Can I enroll in supplemental health insurance anytime?

Yes. Unlike your primary insurance plan, you can add supplemental health insurance anytime. You don’t need to wait for open enrollment or special enrollment periods to add coverage.

What Does Supplemental Health Insurance Cover?

There are many types of supplemental health insurance. Supplemental insurance can cover a broad range of illnesses and services. Here’s a list of some common types of supplemental coverage:

Critical Illness Insurance
Covers major medical procedures. Come critical care plans can be specific to a type of illness or disease.

Accident Insurance
This type of supplemental health insurance can help you pay medical costs and living expenses while recovering from an accident or illness.

Indemnity Insurance
This type of coverage is also known as “hospital insurance.” Your hospital insurance will cover the costs for hospital stays. Overnight or extended stay in the hospital ranges from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

Long-Term Care Insurance
A long-term care policy helps with costs associated with a chronic illness or a disability not covered in your primary insurance. The services covered can include home care, nursing homes, and assisted living.

Does Medicare Have Supplemental Health Insurance Plans?

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) covers many services, but not all of your health services. Many Medicare beneficiaries choose to add supplemental coverage to their plan. Medicare-eligible individuals also have the option of Medicare Advantage, which combines several plans rather than requiring supplement coverage. Here are a few Medicare supplement options:

  • A Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) helps cover the gap between your Original Medicare benefits and additional health services you may need.
  • Medicare prescription drug plans (Part D), help bridge the cost gap for prescription drugs.
  • A long-term supplemental plan may cover injury or illness not covered with a Medigap plan.

When should I consider supplemental health insurance?

Supplemental health insurance can be valuable when you are planning for your future. If you experience a change in health or think you might, it can be a good idea to look at the services you may need and whether your current insurance covers them. If you’re unsure if the time is right for supplemental insurance, you can discuss your family medical history with your primary care provider and develop a plan to watch for symptoms that may need additional coverage.

How do I get supplemental health insurance?

There are several options for purchasing the additional coverage you need. If you are under 65, you can get supplemental health insurance through The Marketplace or a private insurance company. If you’re over 65, you can enroll with a private insurance company that offers Medigap plans or Part D coverage.


How is supplemental health insurance different from medical health insurance?

Your medical health insurance pays for the medical services you receive. Supplemental insurance helps you pay for things that aren’t covered by your primary insurance or everyday expenses you might not be able to cover as a result of an injury or illness.

Do supplemental health insurance plans have restrictions?

When you receive a payment or lump sum from your supplemental health insurance plan, you can use it any way you like.

Does supplemental health insurance payments go directly to my doctor or facility?

No. Supplemental insurance plans pay you the benefit, and the amount depends on the policy. You decide how much and where to spend the benefit.

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